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Soma 10, Us 8, Paul Lord 4, The City 3, Jim 2, San Francisco 2, Peter Cohen 1, Lgbtq 1, Mark Solomon 1, Peter Cohan 1, Chester 1, Chester Fong 1, Minna 1, Fong 1, Corey Teague 1, Tom Radulavich 1, Megan Wier 1, Natoma 1, Powerpoint 1, Soma E-i-r 1,
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  SFGTV    [untitled]  

    November 2, 2012
    9:30 - 10:00pm PDT  

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zoning and design solutions based on community knowledge as well as empirical data and mapping. while there are still areas of the plan that need further discussion and refinement, as a whole we feel that the community plan is thoughtful, comprehensive, forward looking and is worthy of your support. two areas that our office is continued to working with the planning department on and community stakeholders is of course the issue of 11th street which i know that the commission has heard a lot about with our entertainment stakeholders and that is something that we continue to find alternative solutions to and that hopefully we will come to some kind of middle ground regarding that. the other is of course the overlap with the central corridor plan which will be come tog us in two years. at this point right now i would prefer to move forward with the west soma plan as is, but to acknowledge when we pass the plan that we have already initiated the central corridor planning process and that we will be rezoning portions of west soma to fit in with the
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studies that we are currently undertaking with central corridor. not only do we need to grow in residential and the mixed use that is incorporated in western soma, but we also acknowledge there is a need for growth of other types of commercial space like office. particularly along areas that will have access to more public transit and that would be the central subway that is developed. so, a preference at this point would be to move forward with the plan as is, but to acknowledge that there will be some rezoning that may take place over the next two years. so, i want to thank you commissioners for your engagement and guidance throughout this process. i also want to recognize [speaker not understood] who has been wonderful since taking over this plan since paul lord has left the planning department. and he has certainly helped to shape and support this plan to get to where it is today. so, thank you for your time. >> thank you. >> good afternoon, corey teague for staff and thank honorable
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jane kim for her comments. kind of piggyback a little bit off her comments. as bev of you know, paul lord was the project manager on this project for at least seven years if not longer, and i've just been trying to fill his role the best i can since he retired earlier this year. i think the best way to start is to kind of give you an overview of what we're going to be doing today, but also what the long-term plan is for hearing western soma in the future. so, today we're having our first informational presentation. some of the commissioners were here in october of last year when we did a couple of informational presentations on western soma. at that time, just the to brief the commissioners because it had been a while since the draft plan had been in front of them in 2008, the good news is
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that this informational presentation is the beginning of the real thing. we will be moving forward. as you can see, next week, november 8th, we will have a hearing on the initiation of the general plan, the planning code and the zoning map amendments. on november 15th we will be having a second informational hearing. again, today's hearing is more on the background, the process, and the key principles and outcomes of the plan. and the speakers we have lined up can speak to that much more eloquently than i can. but november 15th we're going to really change gears and get into the details of the zoning and planning code changes that are proposed and how that would impact current and future development. and all of that is moving towards a goal of december 6th which on that day we would have scheduled the certification of the final e-i-r, adoption hearing for the general plan, planning code, and zoning
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amendment ordinances. and also hear the entitlement hearing for 350 8th street which was a large project that is also being covered within the western soma e-i-r. i think it's important to note there are several elements addressed in the plan that we talked about in detail last year and will be covered to some, some level today that are not part of the adoption package that i was speaking of earlier. and those three things specifically are the social heritage districts that are being worked out for the filipino and lgbtq communities in western soma. as many of you know, there is also a process going on concurrently in japantown for a potential social heritage district day as well. the community stabilization policy that is referenced in the community plan, it is a
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policy that the task force did develop and is currently being reviewed by various city agencies and the board of supervisors. but any action on that will also follow. and then design standards which will be referenced in the code, those have not finished in terms of being completely developed yet. we're still trying to fine tune those to get those as high quality as we can. and we will be coming back to the planning commission. those will not need to go to the board of supervisors, but they will need action from the planning commission. so, all of these items will be trailing behind the adoption package for the general plan, planning code, and zoning map amendments. so, specifically for today, we already have remarks from the supervisor. i'm going to give a brief introduction about just the framework just to kind of set the table a little bit. but, again, our other speakers,
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they're the people who kind of lived it. they took part, they either were on the task force or were specifically involved with the planning process. and they will be speaking just about the planning process overall. some of the research and analysis that went into developing the plan. the community outreach and participation, i will actually start working here soon enough to attend the last town hall meeting that was held for western soma. talk about some of the key principles that are coming out of the plan and some of the transportation policies. and then lastly some of the key land use outcomes of the plan and a brief summary. so, i thought it would be a good idea to kind of go back even further than when western soma was started and that was in the late '80s, the south of market as a whole, not just western soma, went through a planning process and south of market plan and zoning was
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adopted. as you see here. and then later on, if it hasn't been not quite four years since it became effective, but originally western soma was a part of the eastern neighborhood planning process. you can kind of see a little bow tie area between showplace square and east soma where west soma did not currently exist within the eastern neighborhoods, but the idea is that with the adoption of the western soma plan to fill that gap and western soma, despite going through its own planning process, will essentially become part of eastern neighborhoods falling into the same impact program and so on. we'll get into those details and those concepts more on november 15th. i thought it was just interesting to see the progression of this area. as supervisor kim mentioned, there is a portion of western soma that is overlapped by the
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central corridor study area. and as you know, we're going through that planning effort now. the plan area for central subway covers two blocks on either side of fourth street which is where central subway will go. and because of that location it overlaps with several plan areas. transit center district was just adopted, east soma and western soma. and while some of those concepts will eventually propose zoning changes in these areas, any formal consideration of the central corridor proposals are approximately two years away. and you still have to have publication of the draft plan and the final e-i-r. so, the department in approaching the central corridor efforts has always assumed and conveyed to the community that the western soma plan would be adopted as it is currently proposed. so, just to give a little bit of background and just kind of
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remind some of you and some of the people watching, because, again, the bulk of this work creating the plan happened between 2005 and 2008 which was sometime ago as we are about to enter 2013. but in 2004 is when the board of supervisors actually created the task force, took a long time to get all the appointments made, but in 2005 the task force became fully staffed, so to speak, and began work in earnest with the planning department. 2005 to 2008 was really the work horse years in terms of doing the research and analysis, the community outreach, and actually working to develop the plan. and again, our speakers are going to detail that process. in 2008 the draft plan was published and the e-i-r began. since 2008 we have been working to figure out how to implement the plan through the, prime arily through amendments to the planning code. so, developing zoning controls that match the plan have been
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ongoing since 2008. and in 2011 an updated plan of the version -- version of the plan was published. we had informational hearings at the planning commission. and now 2012 we are hoping to have certification of the e-i-r and plan adoption. so, i think it's just interesting to note there's way more than i can put on here. if you look at the back of the plan, i believe the acknowledgments section may be longer than some of the chapters. a lot of people over time worked on this project and i think that says a lot about what kind of process it was. but specifically some of the larger groups, obviously the task force put in a lot of work, a lot of meeting. the planning department was heavily involved. but also the transportation authority and the department of public health, they both had seats on the task force. the mta and also students and professors from cal poly, san
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francisco state, and u.c. berkeley, and many more that i couldn't begin to rattle off. i think it's important at the beginning just to acknowledge that the process was very inclusive, a lot of people, and the final plan that is in front of you is a result of a lot of people's input. so, with that, to begin our next section of the presentation, i would like to introduce jim meeko, the chair of the western soma citizens task force. >> thank you very much, and thank you, president fong and commissioners. it's such a pleasure to finally be here at the tail end of this process. i'm glad corey mentioned the bulk of our work was really done between 2005 and 2008, but that's not to imply that we haven't been doing important
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things since then. but i'll leave it to corey to explain to you why it's taken this long to finally come before you for this final stage of the process. it would be disingenuous to imply this process was not without controversy. in 2004, when this commission recommended that western soma be removed from the eastern neighborhoods process, and when they supported the resolution at the board of supervisors to create the task force, this is not planning being done in the city. in general, planning was a top down process where predetermined outcomes were generally packaged into powerpoint presentations and a very perfunctory community process would lead to a quick adoption.
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south of market and western soma, which is kind of an invention of ours, there wasn't a western soma before this process existed. but south of market is different from all the other eastern neighborhoods in that we underwent the planning process in the '80s, culminating in the adoption of the 1990 south of market plan. it was an experiment in mixed use zoning that hadn't been done before in the city. so, we've been living as a mixed use community for more than 20 years now. we understand it, we like it, but we know its flaws. and, so, when a rezoning process began again which kind of lumped us in with all these other neighborhoods, it wasn't one narrow self-interested group which pushed back against that. it was an entire coalition of
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stakeholders from south of market. really included the residents and the small business owners, lgbtq and the filipino community, arts, entertainment, community-based organizations, as well as the nonprofit and the market rate development community. nothing was working well. at the tail end of the dot-com era and the live/work boom, south of market was really in distress. and we all came together and made a united push before this commission and before the board of supervisors to argue the case that we would like to engage in a bottom-up community-based process that would pick up on what had worked already from the south of market plan, but what needed to be tweaked and improved. and that's what we bring before you today.
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first thing we learned is to have any credibility at home, we needed to nurture a partnership with the city family. we could not do this ourselves. we did not have the wisdom to take on all the detail of a community planning process. so, step number one, we needed to employ a little bit of humility. that was made all the easier by the partnership we developed with paul lord. paul lord and i worked in 2003 and 2004 so -- if we could have the slide here. paul standing up grinning. we worked in 2003 and 2004 to draft the legislation which created this body. and when this task force came into being, no one worked harder than paul lord to ensure
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that the community and the planning department began to work together and respect each other and treat each other as equals. we'll miss him a lot, but he was threatening to retire seven years ago and it finally happened. i must also mention the contributions of the department of public health and the transportation authority as well. both of those bodies were also represented on the task force from the beginning. lilly far hang, megan wier, and [speaker not understood] helped to take all of the policies of the plan and run them through the healthy development measurement tool. the department public health is famous nationally for. we helped to really fine tune that tool and it's being expanded more throughout the
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city and into other planning processes. and chester fong, who has been on the task force for many years, while working along with tom radulavich and mark solomon, managed to not only write the entire transportation element of the plan which encompasses almost one-fourth of the entire plan, but chester also got the transportation authority to assemble a series of grants totaling i think nearly $100,000 which has launched a western soma neighborhood transportation plan. that's giving us an opportunity right now to tryoutalley policies and programs on
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natoma, minna and ringold alley and lead to all other alleys in south of market. the slide shows the composition of the task force. i've also asked to pass that out to you members. ultimately the task force came to include 26 members. when we wanted to ensure that every possible stakeholder was represented on this body. it's been seven years. we've done our damnedest to hold this group together until this date came. but at this point we're down to 14. but i really want to acknowledge the 50-some people who have devoted so much time, so much of their lives to creating something good for the neighborhood that we all love. two have died in the seven years that this has gone on. jim burk, who was the creator of the safe on sixth street program, was one of of our first land use experts.
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and tim bekko, a vietnam veteran who struggled with many health difficulties stemming from his service, eventually couldn't hold it together, but dan was one of the strongest, most contributory members of the entire task force. whenever we needed anything done, any heavy lifting, dan was there. other members moved on to other cities and other opportunities. it would be unfair to not admit that some left in anger. they weren't getting everything that they had asked for. but if truth be told, of 50 members i can only think of two or three who were so unhappy that they left the task force. the way we structured this, we established ultimately four subcommittees. one that dealt with business
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and land use, another the complete neighborhood fabric, transportation focus group, and an arts and entertainment subcommittee. there were times in the first three years when, if you included the monthly task force meetings, we were meeting five times a month on this plan. it would be -- if that was the entire basis of the plan, that's fine, but that would turn its back on the community that brought us to the table in the first place. so, this is kind of a balance between representative democracy where you have 26 appointed members and participatory democracy where you have the community as a whole. i know other planning processes have had town hall meetings or public workshops where people come and they sit and they watch the powerpoint presentation. but we wanted to take that much
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further. it's much more important to give people the tools of planning, to expose them to what you can do and what you can't do, and not get them lost in ephemeral notions of changing your community in the snap of a finger. planning can do many things. so, we also reached out to the community. we brought task force meetings down into the neighborhood as often as we could. we sat in a night club on 11th street when we launched the whole idea of the social heritage district. we had a four-hour seminar type saturday that was held in the community room at the folsom door apartments where people -- we published a schedule and people that wanted to address various issues like affordable housing, transportation, a
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whole range of things, could come in and share their thoughts. no top-down sort of presentation. simply come in at a given hour and let's talk about this subject. and most importantly, i would have to really acknowledge the generosity of friends of city planning that we were given a $10,000 grant from them, which enabled us to not only do extensive publicity. if i could show you a series of slides here related to the town hall meetings. but this $10,000 grant funded extensive publicity, including three mailings, ultimately to as many as 7,000 residents and small property owners in the community to let them know what we were doing and to invite them to these town hall meetings.
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and the town hall meetings paralleled the process that we were engaged in here at city hall, whereas we devoted the first year of our process here to talking about the vision and values. we wanted to bring to this process. and the principles that we wanted reflected in the plan. then we took that discussion to the first town hall meeting * and we've shared this with the community. we heard their views on this, and we incorporated that into the plan. the second time around, when the task force members had been working seriously on an outline of the objectives of the plan, then we brought that into the community and we didn't use fancy words, planning terms, or anything, but we sat with them and we talked about, what do you want to accomplish with these plans? what's good about what we have?
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where do we need to change things? that was the second town hall meeting. and for the third meeting, we finally, after incorporating that input, we then brought down the first draft of the community plan. and the community spent two hours reviewing the plan, sent it back to us, and after another several months we then voted on the draft for citizens review. that was issued in the fall of 2008. that's when this commission voted to initiate the environmental review. that's been going on ever since. the task force remained at full strength through that entire three-year process, all 26 members were in attendance. and many of them stayed on through the succeeding years as we began to get comments on the draft plan and as we met
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extensively to review where the plan could be adjusted, what could be improved, and to really fine tune the bigger ideas as corey mentioned, the community stabilization policy, their social heritage district, and other pieces of trailing legislation. so, we come before you today with what we voted to present about a year ago, and that is our proposal for adoption. this i present to you today, the western soma community plan, building a complete neighborhood. thank you very much. i would like to begin to introduce our presentation. and our first speaker will be peter cohan, who at the time served as the director of the community planning program at asian neighborhood design. they provided considerable amount of technical assistance to the task force.
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so, let me introduce peter cohen. >> thank you. thank you, jim. good afternoon, commissioners. i'm here in a whole different capacity. so, i'm enjoying this, and thank you for asking me, jim and others from the task force. i've been involved in many area plan processes in san francisco in many different roles and this was a particularly unique role for us because at the time my day job, how i actually help to pay the rent, we had a community planning program which -- in neighborhood asian design provide technical support and processes for research work in many parts of the city. western soma folks came to us and said, can you really provide kind of our main staffing to augment what paul lord at the planning department was able to do? and we had a small technical
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team and we thought this was great. so, we were essentially consultants to a planning process which put us in this very official role. but really because of the nature of the process, we were co-thinkers. it was a very different role and relationship than consultants typically have in planning. we were sitting across a table, at the table with lots and lots of bosses. the task force committees, town halls, working teams, and really thinking through and trying to interpret and reflect and do the kind of research work that helped folks to shape their community plan. so, it was a very unique kind of consulting role. it was an overall theory, i would say. i don't know if jim would agree, but there are the pieces of the theory i would say was built into this. it wasn't just let's get a plan done, but an overall theory of an approach. first was the technical assistance was direct to the community. not secondhand through planning staff or through some kind of agency intermediary, which is typically how planning works, but directly to the community as the client. second was that out of that
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process come what's called citizen planners. now, my term, i think it may be jim or some other folks, but it's not just going to shad receipts and having a good time and using your experience, but actually * learning something and gaining some skill sets and expertise to become a citizen planner and that became part of the theory. third was that the work product that comes out the back end of it has the community's fingerprints all over it. it's not just feedback to the plan, but actually literally shaping it. folks should be able to see a piece of it or the whole thing that they touched and they shaped. the next is ownership of the process. again, how the conversation moves is not kind of rigidly set up, here's plan meeting 1, 2, and 3 and here's your chance for 30 days of feedback. but the process sort of shapes and ebbs and flows in a way that folks feel like they own it and they're not being left hidv. it's not moving too fast, ideally not too slow. * behind another piece of that is the
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analysis, the technical work is creative. there is analytical creativity. it's not a formula for planning. so, if there is a question that's being asked, we don't say, sorry, there's no methodology for that. we figure out how to answer the the question. so, there was a lot of moving which is essentially empirical thinking. citizen planners come to a planning process thinking about the future with a different set of question the professional planners. to be able to figure out a way to address those questions from an analytical standpoint. and lastly it's to start the process from a clear understanding of existing character of the community. before you start planning a community's future is to understand what the community is today. both physically and socially. so, with that i want to give you just a little taste of some of the work product we did and tell you [inaudible]. if we could have the overhead, please. we used a lot of maps. just a little sampling of some things i pulled up of some work that we did which was in

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